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Around & about

Pierce may miss opener

Celtics guard Paul Pierce didn't practice Friday because of a nagging heel injury and might not play in Boston's season opener against the Knicks in New York on Christmas Day.

Pierce did shoot around after the session, but coach Doc Rivers wasn't optimistic his captain would be available Sunday, when the Celtics and Knicks are playing one of the NBA's five season openers.

"He didn't do anything," Rivers said. "He seemed to be working more as far as working out, so we'll see. I still think it's doubtful, but we'll see."

"I think we'll know better [today]. Paul may wake up and say, 'Coach, I wanna go.' I can tell you this, it's very unlikely he'll start if he plays. I don't think that'll happen. If he does play, he'll play 15 to 20 minutes, but right now, I don't see him playing."


Lopez goes under knife

With the prospect of a trade for Dwight Howard fading and the season opener less than a week away, New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson was getting a feel for his team.

That all changed Thursday when center Brook Lopez broke his right foot, an injury that left Johnson shaking his head and considering his options.

Lopez, the Nets' leading scorer, had surgery Friday for a nondisplaced fracture. He was hurt in a preseason game against the Knicks on Wednesday and will be sidelined at least six weeks and probably more.

In the meantime, General Manager Billy King acquired former All-Star center Memhet Okur from Utah for a second-round draft pick, signed free agent guard DeShawn Stevenson and waived forward Ime Udoka.

"Every day is a new day I tell our players," Johnson said Friday.


WTA needs a sponsor

Sony Ericsson is ending its sponsorship of the WTA tour at the end of the 2012 season.

Sony Ericsson became the title sponsor of the women's tennis tour in 2005 under a six-year, $88 million deal. Although the contract was extended through the end of 2012, the mobile phone company's name was dropped from the tour's title in 2011.

The WTA said in a statement Friday that "2012 will be the eighth and final year of the partnership. They have been a great partner and we will miss them."

Sony Ericsson PR manager Graciela Pineda says "this was a strategic decision based on the evolution of the business and the brand."


New Jersey racing gets reprieve

New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority has approved a deal that ensures harness racing will continue at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The deal approved Friday gives Jeffrey Gural a 31-year lease to run the track. He also owns Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs in upstate New York.

Gov. Chris Christie announced the agreement between Gural and the state on Tuesday, along with an agreement to have the Thoroughbred Horseman's Association run a full schedule of races at Monmouth Park in 2012 without subsidies to racing purses.

From News Staff and wire service reports.